Tuesday, March 10, 2020

“Comfort reading”

by Rick Blechta

If you’re anything like me, you have a TBR (To Be Read) stack of books about a mile high. I always feel a twinge of guilt when I pick up a book. I shouldn’t be spending precious hours enjoying what someone else has written. I should be working on my own stuff. Sure, I could put it all down to “research” which is not stretching the truth, but…

Sometimes, usually at the end of a trying day, I can’t imagine reading something new, let alone having enough mental energy to work on my own novel. I just need to “escape” for a few hours, and my solution is to reach for some old friend, a book I’ve very much enjoyed already, often repeatedly, that I can disappear into with no pressure to read it to the end. I think of this as “comfort reading” and it’s as nourishing to my soul as a favourite comfort food can be. In fact it can do you a world of good to indulge in both at the same time!

I have a few comfort reading choices. I’ve always enjoyed reading Dick Francis, but there are some I find more attractive than others. The two that come to mind immediately are Bolt and To The Hilt. I can enjoy either one for an hour or two and emerge feeling much refreshed. The Thirty-Nine Steps is another indulgence. I suspect that some of the Camilleri novels will also land on my comfort reading pile. These stories are just so different and refreshing that reading a few chapters can feel like you've made an overnight trip to Sicily. (Why did it take me so long to discover these gems?)

So that’s my basic list. We have a gloomy day on hand here in Toronto, and it is quite tempting to disappear to the bedroom and spend a few hours with an old friend. I’m going to do my best to resist, though, like I’m doing now writing this blog post. Duty calls!

How about sharing your comfort choices with the rest of us? What book(s) do you turn to when you’re tired, maybe a bit blue, overworked, and in need of some pampering?


Sybil Johnson said...

Agatha Christie always comforts me. And the Aunt Dimity books by Nancy Atherton.

Rick Blechta said...

Thanks for that Sybil!

Considering that Agatha Christie was my introduction to crime writing, it mystifies me why I don't have more of the warm and fuzzies for her works.

I should have probably mentioned Sherlock Holmes if I only have time for a "comfort short story". Conan Doyle is my go-to in those cases.

Sybil Johnson said...

And for some odd reason reading about natural disasters or historical crimes from before I was born comfort me. Perhaps I find comfort in seeing that people have weathered those disasters?

Eileen Goudge said...

Donna Ball’s Raine Stockton and Flash series.